Apr 13, 2021 - News

Denver pursues further decriminalization of magic mushrooms

An image of psilocybin mushrooms laid out on a table after being harvested in Denver.

Psilocybin mushrooms after being harvested in Denver. Photo: Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver continues leading the way when it comes to magic mushroom exploration.

What’s happening: A panel established after voters narrowly decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms in 2019 is delivering a draft of progressive policy recommendations to the Denver City Council next month, Kevin Matthews, who co-led Denver’s decriminalization campaign, tells Axios.

  • The Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel is made up of advocates, city officials and members of law enforcement.

Why it matters: Ongoing research shows that psilocybin could help treat certain medical conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and addiction.

  • But dabbling in the science remains limited due to the federal government’s classification of psilocybin as a Schedule I drug "with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

There are two main elements to the panel’s preliminary recommendations:

  • Decriminalizing the sharing and gifting of magic mushrooms.
  • Decriminalizing the use of ‘shrooms in group, medicinal and therapeutic settings.

Of note: The panel also will recommend that the council sign off on a co-branded public-awareness campaign encouraging responsible mushroom use, as well as green light a training program for first responders on psilocybin harm-reduction techniques.

  • "Denver is going to be the first city in the country to have first responders fully trained on psychedelic harm reduction, which reduces risk both for officers ... and folks that officers contact," Matthews said.

The big picture: Since the city made history as the first in the country to decriminalize magic mushrooms, fears about widespread abuse of the psychedelic drug have yet to materialize, propelling proponents to push the psilocybin agenda even further.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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